A Father to the Fatherless
And the King will say to them, "truly I say to you, whatever you did for the least of these, brothers, you did for me." -Matthew: 25:40
Every word, every breath is all for you, Lord.
haiti: one year later
It's been one year since my heart was captivated by another country, one year since my heart was completely stolen by another. I can't believe this time last year, I was boarding a plane to Haiti with my Crossings family, not sure what to expect when we got there.
I remember arriving in Haiti when it was late afternoon, we were in a hurry to get to our new "home" before dark and we were urged to make sure that we were "sticking together" and not letting anyone touch our bags. As we were driving to our new home, there were no smiles on any of the people's faces. You can feel the darkness in the air - how desperate the people are; how badly they need something. I remember thinking, "how different would their lives be if they knew the Giver of unsurpassed joy?"
I came to Haiti with one thing on my mind, for the Lord to restore to me his first and greatest commandment, "to love the Lord with all your heart and to love others." If we are doing these things then we are doing the things that God wants us to do. It's crazy to think about that I get the opportunity to be the only Jesus that some of these people get the chance to see. That while in Haiti, we have the chance to present the news that not only changes lives, but changes eternity.
Day 5: I still remember it like it was yesterday. I loved everything about being in Haiti, but this is by far my favorite day. This was the day that the Lord really affirmed my feelings and longings for the country of Haiti. Day 5, I met Leandre. Leandre is a child at one of the orphanages we went to while we were there, seeing the joy on his face at all times while I was holding him is something I can't forget or put into words. Being in Haiti was spiritually and emotionally filling each day. Each day I was kissed and hugged by hundred of children and never went a day without laughing, I love the simplicity of everything, I love waking up to a rooster's crow each morning, opening my eyes and seeing the ocean and the lush green trees piercing the blue sky. Haiti challenged me endlessly, but each day I was taught by the ones I went there to teach, and I got the opportunity to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. The days seem like ages and you work until you come home filthy and too tired to move. Yet I know we made a difference, no matter how small, and I want to follow the calling that the Lord has laid on my heart - to love the least of these. (Matthew 25:40) But I don't want to to stop with Haiti. I want to continue giving my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath. Leandre taught me more about His unfailing love in the short time I got to hold him than many people learn throughout their whole lives.
Katie Davis puts it like this, "The fact that I love Jesus has began to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly the plans that others had for me." My heart has been apprehended by a different love, the type of love that calls you to live differently. I am so thankful our God's plans do not seem to be affected by our own! I know I'm not going to change the world, Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. If one person gets to see the love of Christ through me, it's worth every minute, in fact, it's worth spending my life for.
So I'll keep loving one person at a time. I can only so what one woman can do, but daily the Lord who wrecked my life enables me to do more than I ever thought possible. (Ephesians 3:20) I am more afraid of staying comfortable. Matthew 10:28, Jesus tells his followers to be lots of things, but I have yet to find where He calls them to safety. I am more afraid of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and not following Jesus than I am of anything that could happen to me. It's not about God making my dreams come true, but about God changing my dreams to His dreams for my life. Haiti is not the life that I dreamed of or even knew I desired, but the Lord changes the desires of my heart and aligns them with His.
The Lord has been so gracious to me to allow me to see Haiti in a different way than most. To most people these people are suffering, in need to Americans to help them, they're poor, but to me, I see myself in those faces. When I look at them, I feel a love that is unimaginable and I know this is the way the Lord sees me. Seeing Leandre running over to me with gifts of pebbles or the dirt he filled my pockets with, I saw myself. I saw myself the way I really was: broken, filthy, offering my gifts of pebbles and dirt to the God of the Universe, begging for Him to make it into something beautiful. I sit here in a broken world, small and dirty at His feet, and He who sits so high chooses to commune with me, to love me anyway. He blinds himself to my filth and sin so He can forge a relationship with me. And this is what He did for me with Leandre and the rest of the country of Haiti. He blinds me of the filth and disease and I only see children who long for love that I am so eager to share with them.
People tell me all the time that we were blessing the people of the villages we visited, while that might be true in a sense, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, they blessed me more. It wasn't because of anything I did; it was because we serve an unbelievably gracious God who will honor a willing and obedient heart. The love I have for those around me is not something I could muster up myself; it was God given, coming from the overflow of love that He has so graciously lavished on me.
Something happens when you make yourself available to God: He starts moving in ways no one could imagine.
Over and over again, the Lord reminds me. I see these children's blind faith and I long for my faith in the Lord to be so trusting.
He will come.
I am waiting for Him.
He will come and bandage my wounds and bind up my brokenness, he will always show up, just like he says. I look at the precious children that surrounded me there and that surround me here in Lexington - hundreds and thousands of them. Hungry, with no mommy, unable to eat or bathe for days, never having adequate medical care, and I wonder: Could my faith be like theirs? My only hope is this: He is coming. He is coming to bandage our wounds, bind up our broken hearts, to take our face in His hands and whisper, "I am always here." He is coming for all those who are hurting, hungry, and longing to feel loved. They will one day be scooped into His everlasting arms and be told how beautiful they are. They will no longer by hungry or hurting because they will be filled with His spirit! They are the least of these, they are his heart, and He is coming for them - and for us.
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in me mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." (Psalm 40:2-3)